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Beavers Stun Huskies in Pac-12 Tourney
Written by AP Report    Thursday, 08 March 2012 16:15   

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - "The biggest victory of my basketball career!"

Those weren't the words of Jared Cunningham, Ahmad Starks or Devon Collier, those were the words of fourth-year head coach Craig Robinson to his team within the Los Angeles Lakers' dressing room inside the Staples Center.

Oregon State pulled off the biggest upset in the history of the Pacific Life Pac-12 Tournament and posted one of its biggest wins in many seasons overall as it stunned the No. 1 seed Washington Huskies, 86-84, Thursday afternoon in the quarterfinals.

It was the first time a No. 9 seed had ever beat a No. 1 seed and the first time OSU had beat a No. 1 seed in six tries in tournament history.

"Listen, you've got to excuse us. We have a very emotional team right now for a lot of different reasons," Robinson said to the media following the game. "But I know I could not and have not been prouder of a team any more than I've been proud of this team. It's not just because of tonight. It's because of all season."

Collier, making a strong case for inclusion on the all-tournament team, led the Beavers with 19 points, while Cunningham and Joe Burton each recorded double-doubles. Cunningham shook off a tough offensive day Wednesday against Washington State to score 18 points, grab a career-high 10 rebounds and dish out eight assists, while Burton added 14 points and 10 rebounds for his fourth career double-double and third this season.

"It was a little more not as much pressure as Washington State," Cunningham said of his game today. "They sent one man at me yesterday. But today I was able to use the ball screens and find my open teammates. They did a great job of finishing the ball. Once I got open, I didn't really make as many shots as I wanted to, but I passed the ball really well and got everybody involved, and they held their part."

OSU raced out to a 46-33 lead in the first half behind some opportunistic defense that held the Huskies to just 39 percent from the field. Washington also committed 10 turnovers.

OSU built its lead to 15 early in the second half, before the Huskies rallied behind some sharp shooting to take a 66-58 lead at the 8:46 mark on a dunk by Tony Wroten, who had a game-high 29 points. The Huskies shot 61 percent in the second half and had hovered around 70 percent for much of the post-halftime period.

But the Beavers, who have showed great resiliency in the tournament, would not go away and when Starks hit a fluid three-point shot with exactly one minute to play they trailed 83-82. OSU then forced a Terrence Ross turnover that led to a Cunningham layup and OSU had its first lead since early in the half.

Both teams then struggled to convert key free throws as Cunningham missed three straight and Wroten four straight after the 53 percent shooter for the season had made six in a row. But Cunningham rebounded from his free throw problems to hit what amounted to the game winning points, converting two from the charity stripe with six seconds to go.

Starks finished with 14 points, going 4-of-6 from three-point land, and Eric Moreland had a career-high 13 points.

The Beavers won their 19th game of the season, the most since 1990 when they last advanced to the NCAA Tournament. OSU entered the Staples Center Wednesday 0-4 against its rivals from the north for the season, but both WSU and UW (21-10) are now headed home thanks to the Beavers.

Oregon State will play Arizona (22-10, 12-6 Pac-12) on Friday at 6 p.m. in the semifinals in a contest being televised live by FSN and ROOT Sports NW.

"We are so excited to be playing in the semis; I don't care who we play," Robinson added. "This win is for these guys in that locker room, as well as our fans and our staff and all that kind of stuff. But it's special and emotional for these guys because they've been working this hard since the end of the season last year."

Thursday also gave the OSU faithful in the crowd the chance to meet three of among the most famous alumni in the school's athletic history - Gary Payton, A.C. Green and Brent Barry

Support Oregon State University Athletics by making your tax deductible donation to the Beaver Athletic Student Fund. For more information follow this link or call 541-737-2370. Former Student-Athletes are invited to join theVarsity O Facebook Page for upcoming Alumni events.

Follow Oregon State Athletics On YouTube.

 

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